Wedding Bliss and Blues > Gifts, Registries and Money

Advice please? Giving in to demands of Bride

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I'm a longtime lurker of this website and this was the first place I could think of with my wedding related question.

So my future MIL is marrying her partner. They met 10 years ago in the same month I met her son.  My fiancé has not lived with her since he was 14 due to problems with MIL and her ex-partner.

The problem I am having is whether to give into her demands of a gift and hen/batchelorette  parties.

This is her 3rd wedding and the grooms 2nd. She has decided she is going ''all out'.  For months I have heard nothing but her extravagant plans and the cost (for me and my partner) is mounting up.

You see, I got engaged to her son last year. She never mentioned anything about it to us. No 'congratulations', nothing. My family took us out for a lovely meal. Over a year later she asked us why we never did anything for our engagement - we told her we had. We invited her and she said no.

We started planning our wedding (very small). We made an appointment at the reception site we wanted. 2 days before we go she announces she has booked her wedding abroad for 2014. She got engaged the day she booked the wedding. My fiancé and I sat down and had a long talk, we couldn't afford both. We put off our wedding.

The destination wedding is costing around £2000 each. There will be lots of family so we are looking forward to it. However, this is not the only expense. She is having 4 hen party's. Yes, FOUR.  One abroad (different country to the wedding and home country), one in our home town, one in a club as joint stag/hen party, and one when we get to the wedding destination.  I am not going to the 'destination hen' but the cost of all of this is over £500.00 alone!!

She has also now set up a Facebook page stating that there will be another party when we get home and they request we bring cash for 'donations to the honeymoon' !!!

Am I crazy? Or is this OTT? She is over 50 and knows she is delaying our wedding with all these expenses. My fiancé is angry ATM and said he wishes we never booked the flights etc. he asked his mother about the honeymoon donations and she said 'of course' we were expected to contribute ?!

She was talking her wedding with me the other day and I flippantly mentioned our early stage plans...she just looked at me blankly and carried on discussing her wedding. I don't think she is bothered that her 20 odd yr old son is marrying!

So my question I contribute to the honeymoon - I'm erring on the side of 'no' because I thought destination weddings were the ceremony and honeymoon all in one..and she's being tacky.   Also, she has asked me to plan one of the hen parties - she gave me the guest list of SEVENTY women!!

Advise please my E-Hell experts....

(Side note - unrelated but had to get off my chest. The wedding site was chosen because she went to a friend of the families wedding there. She is a 25 yr old and when she got home from wedding she discovered MIL had booked the entire same wedding. Location, hotel, flowers, favours etc. She was gobsmacked. MIL thought she overreacted.)

A) You are not crazy.
B) Yes, this is OTT.

I would definitely not contribute to the honeymoon outside of a normal gift that you would give.  However, since you are spending quite a bit of money just to attend the destination wedding, I would personally give a sentimental gift instead of a monetary gift towards the honeymoon. 

As far as the hen party, I would bow out of the planning.  I would let your FMIL know that this is not something that you can do for her.  No JADEing.  Any time she brings it up, repeat your "No" and beandip. 

Just because this is your FMIL, it does not mean that you and Fiance have to bow to her demands.  Of course, there may be backlash but it sounds like there isn't much of a relationship between your fiance and his mother to worry about damaging anyhow. 

If this was your best friend and her first wedding she's still be insanely OTT about it!! The fact that it's your SO's mom and she expects him to delay/reduce his own wedding to help make her dreams come true just makes it insulting.

Sit down with your DF and a calculator and figure out what you can afford. It sounds like you really want to go, so start there. If that's all that's in the budget you tell her and don't let anyone guilt you into doing more! If you can afford one party, cool, but don't go into debt to make that happen. Focus on attending her wedding and planning yours. Anything else gets the old "I'm sorry but that won't be possible." If you want to explain "Mom, we can't afford it. Stop pushing!" that's fine, but if you're more private about finances (or think she'd just argue) you don't owe her anything beyond politely declining whatever you can't contribute to.

Don't throw the hen party. Tell her you can't afford it. I know cultural norms vary so it might not work to say "Oh family isn't supposed to host the showers and parties!" but if that works, use it!

You can't afford this. You don't sound like you want to either. I have to agree with JenJay and cattlekid - since you have already bought the tickets, go ahead and plan for the wedding, but say no to anything else. No expensive gifts, no parties, no cash or cheques. If she wants a big wedding, she is plenty old enough to figure out how to pay for it without bankrupting her son.

I'm w/ everyone else--insanely over the top.

Sit down w/ your fiancé and decide how much money is in -your budget- that you can allocate to family celebrations and still accomplish all your major goals for yourself.

Then write this number on the top of a big piece of paper, and stick it on the fridge (let's pretend $3,000). Underneath it, start subtracting.

The most important thing is to be at the actual wedding, to subtract that first
    -$2,400 (wedding, including clothes)

Then decide what other things matter -to you two- in terms of family celebrations, and subtract them.

Keep it on the fridge.

That'll help you with feeling firm when you say, "Sorry, MIL, we can't afford that."

And be really, really busy.


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